After Exploiting CNBC Platform, Larry Kudlow Announces He Won't Run For Senate

CNBC senior contributor Larry Kudlow has announced he will not run for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut. The announcement ends months of CNBC allowing Kudlow to misuse its platform to explore a run in what media veterans called “a straight-up conflict of interest.”

During the February 16 edition of CNBC's Power Lunch, Kudlow announced he would not run for the Senate, saying he doesn't want to leave CNBC. Co-anchor Tyler Mathisen asked Kudlow if he would consider serving in Washington under the right administration, prompting Kudlow to say he wouldn't rule it out. 

It's fitting that Kudlow made his announcement on CNBC. The financial network allowed him to remain on its airwaves even as he began “leaning toward” running for the Senate run last September. Kudlow repeatedly used his CNBC megaphone to campaign against incumbent Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D), calling the Democratic senator an anti-business “career” politician and claiming he has “not done anything to help” Connecticut's business climate.

CNBC anchors embraced Kudlow's Senate aspirations. During the February 8 broadcast of Closing Bell, co-anchor Bill Griffeth closed by calling Kudlow “senator” and added, “Was that out loud?” On February 1, Squawk Box co-anchor Joe Kernen called Kudlow “senator-designate.”

Kudlow's potential run was aided by his longtime friend and National Review publisher Jack Fowler, who launched a “test-the-waters” organization that would have become the campaign apparatus if Kudlow entered the race. The group raised $30,550 through the end of 2015, compared to more than $4 million in Blumenthal's war chest.

Veteran journalism experts and two former NBC News presidents criticized the financial network for allowing Kudlow to use his platform to help his potential campaign. William Small, who served as NBC News president from 1979-1982, said of CNBC's handling of Kudlow: “It's a misuse of a news division, a news division is not supposed to take sides. There are a lot of people, especially at Fox, who do, but it never happened on my shift. That's a conflict of interest. I'm surprised that CNBC would allow that.”